“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
If life’s burdens seem too heavy, maybe it’s because you’re trying to carry them alone.
I used to like the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”. For those of you who’ve never heard it, it’s talking about one person who carries another person with an affliction. While there is no doubt that this song reflects some of what Paul is saying here, I am concerned because many times we tend to think of burdens as only giant obstacles which are too large for us to handle. This can lead to a form of emotional or spiritual paralysis. We may begin to think, “Since I can’t do everything, I won’t do anything.”
God is calling all of us to persevere and be burden bearers. On the other hand, giving up is exactly what Satan wants. He wants you to dwell on the mountains that loom in your path, instead of meditating on God’s power to conquer them. The Bible is all about little people who serve a big God, and sometimes we need to try and see things from God’s perspective. But we can only do this by searching the scriptures, and staying in constant communion with Him.
Remember the story of the widow’s mite? She gave less than all of the others, and sheepishly put her money into the temple treasury. But Jesus singled her out, saying that because the rest were rich and she gave all she had out of her need, she gave more than anyone else. While you and I can’t do a whole lot on our own, we can move mountains of fear, anxiety, and guilt with our faith. Doing what we can is more important than we realize. God does not look at the size of the burden. Instead, He looks at the motive of the one helping to carry it.
Here are three L’s that I hope will help you bear someone’s burden this week. The first L is Listen. As a hospital chaplain, I have learned that many of life’s burdens can be removed by simply listening. Learn to be a good listener, and don’t feel that you have to fill in all the blanks in each person’s story. You might not be a chaplain yourself, but there are hurting and lonely people all around you who need a listening ear.
The second L is laughter. Humor is a great ice breaker and a great encourager. Laughter will also ease tension, and allow you to share something that might otherwise be an uncomfortable subject. Proverbs says that a merry heart does good, like a medicine. You can use humor to help so many of the people who cross your path.
Joy is not composed of laughter, but the two are close cousins. As your problems seem smaller, you will become more lighthearted. You will not only encourage others, but you can find joy beyond description, as Christ becomes your identity and focus.
The third L stands for Love, God’s love. The biggest burden is that of sin, and we all need to let our lights shine so that we can share the freedom and joy of Christ with others. Be creative, and go out of your way to love others.
Real love is not something that necessarily brings warm and fuzzy feelings with it. This is where many people have problems. Feelings come and go, but the Christian life is one of living by both faith and love.
I would like to leave you with this challenge: Ask God to help you keep your eyes on Him when times get tough, finding joy in Him alone. But don’t just ask him. Listen to what He has to tell you. also, ask Him to help you listen to others. As the door of opportunity opens, share the gospel with everyone you can. As you share about the freedom that only Jesus can bring, your own burdens will surely become lighter.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You may also send your donation to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 377 E. Chapman Ave., Suite 260, Placentia, CA 92870.
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 641-715-3900, ext. 874157.